August Hail Storm

High Plains Hail Storms

Today’s post will have lots of photos of damage to both my garden and that of a nearby relative. While we do not suffer the threats of tsunamis or hurricanes, we have our share of bad weather. On the high plains natural disasters appear in the form of blizzards, flash flooding, strong straight line winds and hail.

I have lived in my present home for 22 years and this is the third time a major hail has hit. Most of the hail we get is pea sized or slushy and doesn’t create widespread damage. But with a storm like this, contractors will be busy for months. We may have been fortunate, depending on the assessment of our roof. Many of our neighbors have broken windows, both car and home, damage to siding and roofs. Businesses suffered as well.

The recent storm carried golf ball sized stones. We are still waiting the claims personnel to see if we will need a new roof. Our current one is just 4 years old and 3 times thicker than the average. Other damage to property is limited to screens and fascia.  However, the garden suffered a direct hit.

Fortunately, I am a fanatic about keeping apprised of the weather. A cold front bringing severe weather was forecasted, so I was aware of the possibility of damage. Once the radio indicated the front was about 30 minutes away bringing large hail I quickly harvested what I could. Any tomato with the slightest bit of red was picked along with other veggies that were near ripened state. The root vegetables were left in place with the hope that the foliage would not be totally shredded.

As you can see in the photos, the hail tore the leaves apart. I estimate the locust trees lost about half, even though the leaves are small. The oak, red buds and peaches all took a hit. The photos of my beds show stripped pepper and tomato plants and damaged artichokes. Both the potato and sweet potato plants now have holey leaves but the crops should be far enough along underground not to be stunted.

The hail beat up the veggies as seen in the photos of the tomato and peppers. All the peppers had been knocked to the ground. The hail stones even knocked holes in large fruits such as melon and pumpkins as can be seen in the photo of my relative’s 20 x 20 garden plot.

The damage was not limited to neighborhood gardens. Farmers took a hit as well as can be seen in these photos of a nearby cornfield. Each year, farmers on the high plains face this threat to crops. Because of this, yields can’t be predicted for any long term planning.

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